Expressive Art: Birth Trauma – Bead Your Story

A traumatic birth can be physically and emotionally devastating. Social support for those going through trauma treatment and for long-term survivors of trauma can improve quality of life, reducing anger, anxiety and depression.

Art therapy projects can help express feelings of sadness and reduce the feelings of loneliness.   A wonderful art therapy project for a support group for birth trauma survivors is called “Bead Your Story”.  

This exercise is a nice way to break the ice in a support group, or to cheer people up after they have gotten to know each other in a support group. 

The materials you will need are some brightly colored beads and materials to string for a necklace, bracelet or keychain.

For this project, choose red, green and blue, and some other complimentary colors of your choosing. Use the bigger wooden beads for this project so you can talk and bead at the same time.  You can make either a bracelet, a key chain or a necklace. For the necklace, purchase waxed beading string, for the bracelet, purchase elastic string and for the key chain purchase a a plain round key ring and add waxed beading string to it, on which to string the beads.     

Above is an example of one of the participant’s necklaces.

Begin your expressive beading project by deciding if you want to make a  keychain,  bracelet, or necklace using the beads you have purchased.  As you bead your project, please share the parts of your personal story of that you wish to share and also share your hopes.

As part of your design, please include a red, green and blue beads to imbue meaning into your story and emotions as you share with the other members of the group. 

Green Bead – Treatment

As you handle and string your green beads, let the green beads symbolize your thoughts, feelings and experiences surrounding your pregnancy. Please share this with your group. 

Red Bead – The Birth

As you handle and string your red green beads, let the red beads symbolize your thoughts, feelings, and experiences surrounding your experiences about the birth. Perhaps there were times you felt supported, yet other times when you did not feel supported. Please share your experiences with your group. 

Blue Bead – Hope

As you handle and string your blue beads, let the blue beads symbolize hope. Reflect on who, what and how you build and sustain hope, and how you keep living your life to its fullest. Please share this with your group. 

The Psychology of Color 

     Some interesting color anecdotes  

     Green is an emotionally restful color. It symbolizes life, rebirth, abundance, renewal and health. Its connotations are harmony, balance, and forward movement. In Chinese medicine, green is associated with the Wood Element, the season of Spring, and the yin/yang energy of the emotions of balanced growth versus frustration and anger.

     Red is an emotionally intense color. Its connotations are emergency, danger, caution, and the extreme emotions of passion, conflict, hate, and love. It has been shown to have a stimulating effect, raising respiration rate and the heartbeat. In Chinese medicine, red is associated with the Fire Element, the season of Summer, and the yin/yang energy of the emotions of isolation versus intimacy.

     Blue is an emotionally calming color. Its connotations are confidence, stability, intelligence, unity, and steadfastness. In Chinese medicine, blue is associated with the Water Element, the season of Winter, and the yin/yang energy of the emotions of fear versus confidence.

For other Expressive Art articles, try Creating My 2018 Vision Board .

Another Expressive Art article is Creating Your Life Line.

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